NOTE: This is not a review of the final release of R.U.S.E. This is a review of the limited multiplayer portion that was released on Steam as a free weekend almost 2 months before the actual game launch.

Let me begin by saying that I am not much of an RTS person and when I do play I enjoy the city building/economic side of things more than the combat. R.U.S.E. is pure combat and strategy, and for some reason, I can't get enough.

In R.U.S.E. you take on the role of a military general in either 1939, 1942 or 1945. You must build up your base and acheive victory either by destroying the enemy or having the most points once time is up. The economic system of the game is very simple, you only have 1 resource and that is money which is generated from both looting supply depots and various buildings that slowly generate funds over time.

My first impressions of R.U.S.E. consisted of two thoughts, "Wow, this is pretty" and "Wow, this is big". The graphics in R.U.S.E. are nothing to get crazy over, but you have to appreciate the level of detail and size of the game (Screenshots will be linked at the bottom of this review).

Getting started with an actual game wasn't as easy as I had hoped. I am used to RTS games where you have citizens who do your building/gathering/etc etc. R.U.S.E. isn't that way. To build a building you must click on your HQ building (In the beginning at least, you can click on any building once you get started). Doing this presents you with a nice, easy to navigate menu that reminds me of the dash on the PS(P/3). From here you can pick from 7 different categories and 1 ruse menu (More on that later). Most categories have 1 building to select and once you have built it you may then return to that menu to produce units (Also, more on this later). Once you have selected a building from the menu, you simply drag the building outline where you want it to be and an engineer truck will leave your HQ for that spot, once it arrives the building is completed instantly. All buildings must be built on the road, the only exception to this is stationary artillary which can be placed almost anywhere.

Unit production ranges from very quick (Basic infantry squads train in under 1 second) to rather long (Bombers took upwards of 20 seconds, mind you, this is guesstimations, not actual timing). Unlike other RTS games you do not build a queue of units who train then stand outside the barracks or rally point, instead, after you select how many units you want, you must give them a location to move to, after that training will commence. The exception to this rule is aircraft which will sit on the airfield until given orders.

The general feeling I got from R.U.S.E. was that you should focus less on the building/training and more on the strategy of battle. R.U.S.E. gives you many possible strategies to overcome your enemies, hiding in forests to launch a suprise attack or using a ruse card to gain an advantage. Ruse cards are your special strategy moves, they allow you to do many things from sending in spys to identify enemy units within a given area or using propaganda to mentally weaken your enemies making them more prone to retreat from combat. You can also launch a fake attack which sends wooden units into 'combat' to distract your enemy, offering you a chance to take advantage of their confusion.

To finish this off with my final thoughts, R.U.S.E. is a well polished, fun and quick strategy game (Most games run on a countdown timer, whoever has the most points at the end wins or until there is 1 team left. Most games run 20-30 minutes) R.U.S.E. is great for someone looking for a new and challenging experience. The final product will not be released for another 2 months but I am looking forward to it.

Screenshot links : Picasa Web Albums - Marshall - RUSE

This is my first game review. Feel free to critique me. If you have any questions about the game just ask away.